Till the last minute on May 27, people all over Nepal and those tuned into Nepal across the world, expected the county to have a new constitution. However, after much suspense and uncertainty, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai announced that a consensus had not been reached and with the current Constituent Assembly (CA) now dissolved, an election for a fresh CA would be held six months from now.
The people of Nepal had elected the CA in 2008 when the country was declared a Republic, for a period of two years. The CA was expected to create a ‘new Nepal’ with a fresh constitution that would reconcile the needs of a republic. However, four years down the line and after the CA had already been given four extensions, Nepal was told that its CA members had failed to deliver the constitution and had been unable to fulfill the mandate they had been given.
Looking at the huge size of the CA and the extravagant amount spent on its functioning, it is nothing short of amazing how our political leaders and the CA members are still able to walk with their heads held high instead of feeling embarrassed. The last four years were spent in making and breaking coalitions, fulfilling prime ministerial aspirations of different leaders—all of those who fought for Nepal’s independence from Monarchy for decades indulged in blame game and political one-upmanship. The outcome, however, was nothing but a continuing vacuum and no constitution.
It is time that people of Nepal prove yet again that they are the sovereign power in the country, not the politicians. It is time to say a resounding ‘no’ to the older generation of leaders in each political party, who has failed us miserably, by not electing them in the upcoming election.
The current crop of politicians should apologize for letting the nation down, and make way for young guns to contest the November elections.
After the restoration of democracy in Nepal in 1990, people gave the first mandate to the biggest democratic party—Nepali Congress—to form the government. However, the NC got caught up with internal bickering and rifts and a coalition government led by the UML was given the opportunity to run the country. This was followed by a series of squabbles within and between NC and UML, with both parties parting ways only to patch up later. But this created a huge gap in the country’s progress and dented its political stability. Series of such events gave rise to the rebel movement which pushed the country into a bloody civil uprising. After this, Nepal created history yet again when the Maoist forces gave up arms, contested an election and formed the government.
However, old habits die hard. Senior politicians continued to fight and indulge in blame game, leading to further instability and erosion of credibility of the political class. Now that there is no running away from fresh elections, we need to ensure that we elect only those leaders who intend to lead the country forward, towards development and economic stability.
Meanwhile, the current crop of politicians should first apologize for having let the nation down. They should then make way for the younger generation of leaders in each party and allow them to contest the election. The older generation of leaders should stand on the sides and watch the youth leaders do the task of bringing political, policy and economic stability in Nepal. While choosing candidates for the proportional quota, efforts should be made to pick fresh experts and committed individuals who have so far been sidelined and marginalized.